of Climate Change and Preparedness for It is a Reality for
("The Cocommunity" - Monthly APCC Newsletter
Volume 44, Series No. 12, 1 December 2014)
November many families of coconut farmers in the Typhoon Hayan
affected areas of the Philippines remembered the tragic disaster
that struck a year ago causing the loss of lives, homes, farms
and livelihoods for the thousands. Over 30 million coconut
trees were destroyed leaving communities and the coconut sector
reeling with a distraught economy for affected farmers and
nearly 25% of Philippines production of coconuts causing proportionate
decline in exports of related by-products of importance to
the nation’s economy and the coconut sector. As the
people began to reconstruct their lives the government of
the Republic of Philippines through the Philippine Coconut
Authority began assistance through strategic projects with
development partners that included external donors such as
the World Bank, European Union, United Nations Development
Program, International Labour Organisation and many others.
The Philippine experience has proven that coconut farmers
world over are most vulnerable to climate change effects.
It was noted with interest a statement made during the stakeholders
forum at the last National Coconut Week in Manila that the
coconut farmer was still the poorest amongst the various categories
of farmers. This scenario would be similar in the Asian and
Pacific Region.Rising sea levels and string winds including
cyclones seriously affect coconut farmers in the Pacific with
loss of crop and hardship during lengthy recovery periods.
Each year heavy rains cause massive flooding in India that
badly affected farms and lives of farmers as experienced recently
It is encouraging to read of the efforts in many nations that
are committed to strategic actions towards preparedness for
climate change effect and the mitigation of the effects. It
will be largely dependent on the willingness and the initiative
of coconut farmers to adopt good agriculture practices and
development strategies to make this important change thus
enabling the objectives achievable.
For many coconut farmers it would be the choice of various
forest species including bamboos as the expected second line
of defence after mangroves or a suitably recommended barrier
trees whether on the foreshore or with areas further inland.
In some countries the ‘ridge to reef’ strategy
is deployed to ensure the appropriate wind breakers are planted.
Famers’ food crops are placed in the middle to minimise
the effect of strong winds on the food gardens. The inter-planting
of economic forest species with coconuts are practiced in
some places and the various species of fruit and nut trees
in the farming systems also contribute in the efforts of preparedness
for the climate change effects.
The efforts of the Coconut Research Institute in Sri Lanka
in providing training from 2015 would assist on the subject
of climate change preparedness and related coconut-based farming
systems. The training would provide good agriculture and management
practices needed to successfully establish farms that are
prepared to withstand or minimise the negative effects of
climate change. It is important to link the preparedness for
climate change with poverty reduction and food security efforts
for coconut farmers.
The APCC Secretariat takes this opportunity to wish a very
Merry Christmas to all our stakeholders and friends of the
Coconut and that the New Year would bring many happy returns.
We pray for the communities recovering from the effects of
the Typhoon Hayan in the Philippines and others in similar
situation elsewhere for peace and contentment during this
Festive Season. May God bless you all.